Terence Blacker: The value of a price tag on nature

The natural world cannot survive Osborne's cheerful free-market libertarianism

Katy Guest: Put your abacus away, Ms Spelman

Our writer recoils from the costing of nature's bounty

Steve Richards: Why cling to the least helpful targets?

As ministers insist they have no time for targets, you cannot move for them in relation to the economy

What price nature? Report puts financial value on UK's ecology

In a bid to reflect the true worth of nature, 700 scientists looked at the benefits of natural ecosystems

Coalition 'cowardly' over wild animals circus ban

The coalition was attacked from all sides in an emergency Commons debate yesterday over its failure to ban wild animals in circuses. In a bruising, 20-minute session, the Animal Welfare Minister Jim Paice admitted that he and Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, had misled MPs three times last week by suggesting there was a live legal challenge to a ban in Austria.

Legal challenge used to block circus animals ban

The Government’s used a non-existent court challenge as an excuse for blocking a ban on wild animal in circuses, it was claimed today.

Ministers call emergency summit as drought looms

One of the driest springs on record has sparked fears for agriculture and wildlife, while crews 'work to the point of exhaustion' to battle forest fires

Village People: The Coalition: a year in apologies

When David Cameron and Nick Clegg stood on the lawn at 10 Downing Street to herald the creation of a coalition government, there was an implied promise of a new kind of politics. Things have not all worked out like that, but it has been a good year for humility in public life. Every few days, another politician has owned up and said sorry. Here are some of the highlights of a sorry year.

The Future of England's Forests: How we got lost in the woods

After plans to sell off England's forests were dramatically shelved, The Independent launched a prize for the best writing on their future. Here, Michael McCarthy introduces the winning article

£100 million cash boost for English waterways

More than £100 million is being provided to help improve England's rivers for wildlife such as otters and trout, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said today.

Michael McCarthy: The world cannot allow these species to die out

It's a vast region whose forests are being cut down at a rate faster than those of Amazonia

Exclusive: Cameron signals retreat on NHS reforms

Health Secretary's plans have been put on hold as PM has yet again signalled an embarrassing about-turn

Sale of 15 per cent of English forests to raise £100m

Sales of a 15 per cent portion of English public forests will go ahead within the next four years, raising an expected £100m, the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, said yesterday.

Forests sale 'within four years'

Sales of 15% of England's public forests will go ahead within the next four years, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said today.

Government asked to investigate new pesticide link to bee decline

The Government is being asked to investigate a possible link between a new generation of pesticides and the decline of honey bees. It is suspected that the chemicals may be impairing the insects' ability to defend themselves against harmful parasites through grooming.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'